Fuel Soccer Talk: Brilliant – simply brilliant – City; Liverpool’s silver lining; MLS Around the League

Only one place to start on this Monday morning!

Magnificent Manchester City wins back-2-back Premier League titles

Courtesy of Daily Mail

Pep Guardiola not only knew it but said it on Jan. 29 after his club’s loss to Newcastle. The brilliant manager knew his brilliant side would have to be not only brilliant but perfect for the rest of the season to repeat as Premier League champions. And that meant WINNING every game. He knew that even a draw in the run would probably cost them the title. That’s how good he believed Liverpool was and didn’t see the Reds not getting three points out of every match the rest of the way. Pep knew that 98 points was needed to win the Premier League. And as often is the case, Pep was correct because City needed every single point to fend off Liverpool.

City’s incredible 14-victory streak ended on Sunday with a 4-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on the final day of the season to reach 98 points, one better than Liverpool.

“Incredible,” said Guardiola, describing his team’s 98 points after winning the 2017-18 title with 100 points. “We made the standard higher than last season and Liverpool helped us,” said Guardiola, who has won league titles in eight of his 10 seasons as a manager with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City. “To win this title we had to win 14 in a row. We couldn’t lose one point. … It’s the toughest title we have won in all my career, by far.”

The title was decided by one point and 1.12 cm. Remember back on Jan. 3 when City claimed a dramatic 2-1 win to end Liverpool’s unbeaten 20-game start to the Premier League season and move to within four points of the top of the table? Leroy Sane’s strike, 18 minutes from time, secured all three points for City at the Etihad. Liverpool was denied the opening goal of the game in the first half when Mane’s effort was cleared off the line by John Stones with the ball just 1.12 cm from going over. One point and 1.12 cm from the top of the table.

What were the keys to City’s 14-game winning streak?

Liverpool’s “really good” season gets them second place in Premier League

Sunday’s dramatic timeline. Courtesy of the Daily Mail.

One has to feel bad for Liverpool – yes, even Manchester United and Everton fans have to feel some sorrow for the Reds. Maybe? Just a little?

Liverpool lost only one game this season – to City. They reached the third highest point total in the history of the top division in England. Third highest EVER! And they finish second to Manchester City. If Liverpool doesn’t win the Champions League final it will be heartbreak city on Merseyside. But a victory over Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid in the championship game next month would be a fantastic trophy to bring back to Liverpool. In fact, City would probably trade their three trophies (let’s assume they win next weekend’s FA Cup final) for the Champions League trophy. Liverpool deserves something and to be the champions of Europe is certainly something.

Jurgen Klopp called his team’s season “good” on the team’s web site. “Our season was good as well,” he said. “A really good season, an unbelievable season. If you would get an award for the biggest development jump I can remember, the boys would get that because it was completely different.”

Meanwhile, even Liverpool has to tip their hat to City. Maybe? Just a little?

Celebrate CITY!!!!

Let’s look ahead – can City pull off a third straight title next year?

MLS News & Notes from around the league

Atlanta United 1, Orlando City 0: Results matter above all in rivalry games, so ATL maintain bragging rights and run their winning streak to four. Yet their subpar second half suggests there’s still plenty of work to do for Frank de Boer & Co. Meanwhile Orlando were one tidy finish away from a well-earned road point; their midweek trip to Seattle will pose another stiff test. – Charles Boehm 

DC United 1, Sporting Kansas City 0: Sporting are merely trying to survive this injury-plagued stretch at the moment, having only dressed four bench players. Meanwhile, D.C. may rotate their squad heavily on Wednesday in Toronto, having used only one substitute before second-half stoppage time. – Ian Quillen

Los Angeles Football Club 3, Columbus Crew Fire 0: For the third time this season, LAFC has captured all three points from a road contest. In the process, Bob Bradley’s team further extends their lead atop the Western Conference standings, especially as the LA Galaxy have now dropped three matches in a row. Meanwhile, Columbus has now dropped their third game of the year at MAPFRE Stadium as the ups and downs continue during the Caleb Porter era. As for one word to describe it? Inconsistent.– Jonathan Sigal

For more excellent coverage of this weekend’s MLS action  

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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